Spirit Legacy

Free Spirit Legacy by E. E. Holmes

Book: Spirit Legacy by E. E. Holmes Read Free Book Online
Authors: E. E. Holmes
turned to go, glancing again into the gift shop. The attractive window shopper had left, apparently having decided to give up on our silent conversation through the plate glass. Who was this guy and, more importantly, would I ever get to have an uninterrupted conversation with him?
    The next couple of weeks passed with what I could only describe as clichéd quickness. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I worked in the dining hall, which was about as miserable as I’d expected. Sam stopped by a few times over those first few weeks, occasionally with Anthony in tow. They provided an amusing insider’s tour of the campus that included a secret entrance into the clock tower and the best hills for sledding on cafeteria trays when the weather got colder. Anthony didn’t grow any more charming with time, although I had to be impressed with his persistence and his extensive collection of cheesy pick-up lines. I also noticed that Tia made extra passes with the lint roller when she knew Sam was stopping by.
    We stayed friendly with Gabby and Paige, though I could only take the former in small doses. Gabby’s soap-opera-style romance with her high school sweetheart lasted all of two weeks before she broke up with him for good. She then began the mysterious college ritual of “hooking up,”for which I could only ascertain the sketchiest definition; but in Gabby’s case it seemed to involve a lot of drinking, making-out, and awkward, hung-over phone conversations. Watching the cycle repeat itself was all the encouragement I needed to stay well away from it. Not that I needed any other reasons to stay away from alcohol, having spent half my life cleaning up my mom.
    Tia only really took notice when Gabby bragged of “hooking up” with Sam in mid-October. This changed Tia’s tone from mildly reproving to downright acidic, and we didn’t hang out much across the hall after that, though Tia was much more inclined to be charitable when she heard that it hadn’t worked out.
    §
    All in all, college was in many ways what I’d hoped it would be. The only times when I felt really sad were in the evenings when Tia called her parents. I never could catch much of the conversation, which was carried on in rapid, often exasperated Spanish, but I could still sense the warmth and affection in her voice for her “Papi” and “Mami.” It made my heart ache.
    I knew it was only a matter of time before my own parental situation came up in conversation with Tia, and I braced myself for it. She finally asked me about it in our third week of rooming together.
    “So, um, are your parents not around, or …?” Tia fumbled, not sure which version of her question would be the least offensive to ask.
    “No, actually. I’ve never met my dad and I lost my mom this past summer.”
    “Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.” Tia was always saying quaint things like “Oh my goodness” and even in the awkwardness of the moment it made me smile a little.
    “Me too.”
    “So then, Karen is your mother’s sister?”
    “Yeah, her twin, actually. But she and my mom didn’t talk anymore, so I’d never met her while my mom was alive.”
    “They weren’t identical were they?” Tia whispered.
    “No,” I said quickly, stifling the image.
    “Oh, good. Because that would have been a little too weird, don’t you think?”
    “Definitely.”
    “Are they alike in other ways?”
    The bitterness in my laugh surprised even me. “Not even remotely. Karen is so put-together and my mom was … well, she was a mess, actually.”
    “Oh. We don’t have to talk about this, Jess,” Tia said.
    “No, it’s okay,” I replied, suddenly feeling the need to unload it all. “My mom drank a lot. She was always screwing things up and then trying to make a fresh start, and that usually meant uprooting our entire existence every six months or so. I think I’ve lived in every major city in the U.S.”
    “That must have been tough, with school and

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